I have always resorted to words to describe my travels. Somewhere I must have thought pictures were a lazy way of documenting. But as my time to read and write shrinks, I am bending some of my earlier principles.
Browsing through some old photos, I am tempted to write about the places I have been to, but the jumble of thoughts seem overwhelming even before I can structure them into readable bits.
It strikes me that I could combine the two formats just a little bit with a limited number of representative photos and a tiny blurb about each.
I do not know how well this would turn out. Let us see.
If nothing this’ll force me to balance out the need to write voluminously boring travelogues or endlessly repetitive pictures.
The one picture that comes to mind when I think back to my trip to Switzerland. This cabin, somewhere between Kleine Scheidegg and Wengen, sitting high in the Bernese Oberland, was a night shelter for mountaineers. The location was breathtaking, evoking a feeling of happy loneliness.
A prohibitively expensive country, Switzerland makes sure its citizens pay for services and tourists aren’t spared either. This is a photo of Lausanne, the only city we visited. Unlike many cities which feel like they won’t last long in their current state, Lausanne’s delicately balanced atmosphere is reassuringly valued and protected by the country.
These two Rhodesian Ridgebacks, Bowie and Yero, were the friendliest giants. Their human, who grew up in East Germany, moved to the banks of emerald lake Brienz to hike the mountains with his dogs.
A cross section of a private line in the Bernese Oberlands. The trains, true to reputation, are impeccably run. Train hopping was a joy. Watching the mountains loom and recede from the warm interiors of the train is something I’ll remember forever.
At dusk the Lauterbrunnen valley is shrouded in darkness long before the high peaks of the alps. This was an eerie moment. Having never been to the Himalayas or any mountainous regions, this phenomenon had me hypnotized. I stood in the engulfing darkness watching the light never fade from the mountain peaks.
The one sign that says it all. I have always only encountered this tenet as lip-service. Many Swiss had legitimate second lives. A life they wanted to live. Our host was a tax accountant and a paraglider.
The village at the end of the world. Brienz. The patient tourist waits to cross the empty thoroughfare.
Madhu, this quickie is a surprise. But the word ‘quickie’ doesn’t reduce the sheer beauty of these pictures and your thoughts. ‘Happy Loneliness’ — I want to remember that phrase forever, Madhu. It is the kind of phrase that therapists must use in CBT. And see where I get that? This is why I like your blogs. And, I wish I could be as disciplined and patient as that tourist who waits to cross the empty throroughfare. That tourist has given me a serious life goal. And, it takes a pair of observant eyes like yours to capture the unassuming extraordinariness — it hides itself like a shy child that stands behind its parents’ legs — in grand, vast places like this. Lonely Planet can show the pictures of snow-capped mountains. But one really has to be in the moment to notice a tourist like the one in the last picture. And that makes you an inspiring traveller, Madhu. Thank you!
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Deepika, you leave some of the best comments! As always wanted to just keep things moving and thought I might put this format out. That tourist is really life goals. Thats how I want social systems to be. Not some ragged race where the person who “jugaads” or “hacks their way to the otherside” is rewarded!
Thanks for letting us join you.
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Anytime. Thanks for dropping by 🙂